Deseret Book announces acquisition of Excel Entertainment Group


    By Janae Ashton

    Chairman of the Board of Deseret Book Company, Robert Garff, announced Deseret Book acquired Excel Entertainment Group – effective Monday.

    “On this particular deal, we”ve been working on it since June,” said Gail Halladay, director of marketing communications for Deseret Book. “That was the beginning of the discussions. The negotiations got going a couple months later after they really talked through what this would look like.”

    Halladay said Jeff Simpson, president and CEO of Excel, and Sheri Dew, president and CEO of Deseret Book, have been talking about ways the two companies could collaborate for years.

    “We are delighted to welcome Jeff and his talented team to the Deseret Book family,” Dew said on Deseret Book”s Web site. “Jeff”s dynamic sense of promotion, as well as his energy and vision, will strengthen us in many ways. I am personally very enthused about the team this now brings together.”

    According to the Deseret Book Web site, Simpson will oversee the development and marketing of productions in the film, music and publishing divisions. He will also serve as a member of the Deseret Book”s executive team.

    Simpson said what has been remarkable about the whole thing is how the organizations compliment each other.

    “The things that have stuck out the most to me is sometimes in these sort of things it”s been like ”well, lets get rid of this, lets get rid of that”, but we”ve mostly talked about ”ok you do this string, and you do this string” and how do we make all these great things come into action,” Simpson said.

    Halladay said the companies plan to work together to promote wholesome entertainment.

    “[We don”t want to] act as competitors at all, but really just as co-companies who push forward the whole LDS entertainment list of products, ways to distribute to more people and just get more people excited to watch and listen to good entertainment and values-based entertainment,” she said.

    Halladay said the two companies together are going to have greater strength and greater opportunity to “raise the tide for all LDS entertainment.”

    Krista Maurer, media relations for Excel, said the biggest benefit of the acquisition is for those people who are looking to buy, view and have faith-based entertainment in their home.

    “The industry we are in is such an incredible way to share a specific message that both companies believe in,” Maurer said. “Both companies come into it with different strengths, so by joining those strengths we now have the ability to increase the level of quality in the product and also in the number of people we are able to get those products to.”

    Maurer said she is absolutely thrilled about the acquisition.

    “We couldn”t be more happy to be joining with such a great company,” she said. “By joining forces with Deseret Book we now have the opportunity to … bring more quality entertainment to the world, at an even greater capacity. So all of us are just very happy.”

    Dew said on Deseret”s Web site she believes this acquisition is one that has win-win potential.

    “Their [Excel] strengths, combined with Deseret Book”s strong retail and publishing brands, will make it possible for all of us to provide customers with better and greater entertainment options,” Dew said. “Deseret Book has always had quality as one of its hallmarks. We”ve long been impressed with Excel”s commitment to excellence in the media they”ve brought to this market.”

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